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Digital Creativity: a Practical Guide

Augmented reality

A practical guide to getting digitally creative and using digital tools and technologies to explore work, ideas, and research.

Augmented reality (AR)

Augumented reality, often called AR, involves using a device to view something that then has digital content overlaid on top, which 'augments' the real world in some way. We'll have a look at how you might start using this technology.

What is AR?

Augumented reality, or AR for short, is a way of combining real world and computer-generated content, for example using a phone camera to view something and then have virtual content overlaid on top. Often, some kind of trigger prompts the AR to work, either something a camera can 'recognise' or a location or similar.

There have been a range of applications for AR, including games like Pokemon Go (the craze for which swept the globe in 2016) and apps for retail companies that allow you to test out what furniture would look like in your space. Museums and heritage organisations have also used AR to augument their collections with additional information or related content.

Getting started with AR

You can make augmented reality experiences in a range of ways, from using a platform that allows you to create trigger images or QR codes that cause content to appear to coding the entire AR experience yourself (or getting a developer to do so) using frameworks like AR.js for JavaScript.

If you're new to AR, a good starting point is to try out free tools like Pictarize to see how augmented reality might work for your content and discover its abilities and limitations.

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